Don’t fall for faux entry-level marketing and sports

I’ve heard from job seekers who are thrilled they’ve been scheduled for an immediate interview after applying to “Entry-Level Marketing Jobs” or “Rookie Management Leaders Wanted” that promise “Apply Today, Start Tomorrow!” I scratch my head – didn’t someone explain these employment scams to folks when they were back in school? Aren’t these offers so obviously preying on frustrated and desperate job hunters, that one would run the other way?

These sweatshops target overly-eager and somewhat gullible college grads/early career talent who are feeling unsuccessful in the job marketplace and not getting response to their resumes. All of a sudden, boom! – someone wants you to come in tomorrow for an interview? That’s like winning the lottery for an anxious job seeker, and these scam marketing companies see you coming a mile away, laughing the whole time.

Will you get hired? Absolutely, no background check or references required. Will you be trained? Yes – in door-to-door cold calling, interrupting irritated residents’ meals and occasionally being threatened with “I’ll call the cops if you don’t get off my property.” Is that the kind of career you hoped for yourself? These these churn-and-burn operations know that college grads bring a high level of dedication, professional presence and hard work to their tasks, and will go outside of their own common-sense comfort zone to get ahead. A perfect employee, indeed, for these employers who often disappear in the night, and who buy stock photos of office towers to illustrate their “contact us” website page, like at Sounds glamorous, right? Real employers don’t offer up fuzzy details and vague promises of incredible entrepreneurial opportunities.

An excellent exposé on these “entry level marketing” scams is an article from the blog One Day One Job, a website for new college grads that highlights worthwhile corporate and nonprofit employers for their consideration. ODOJ’s tell-all article drew over 200 comments from embarrassed job seekers who took the bait and said yes to an immediate job offer – here’s the scoop (warning, this takes forever to load): 

It’s a fascinating read, and lists dozens of these “entry level job” shops for helpful reference. Frequently, when you’re called back for a second interview, you’re forced to buddy sell with a current employee. You’ve just given them a day of free labor knocking on doors on one side of the street, whether you take the job or not!

However, because their ads appear on LinkedIn, CareerBoard, Monster and other online job portals, don’t assume these are legit employers. They’ll argue that they absolutely provide jobs, and advancement for people who can “take their unique sales training methods to the next level.” So begging strangers you’ve just annoyed to buy coupon packs for gutter replacements and basement waterproofing is the sales training that will propel your career to the next level? I’m thinking this isn’t the career start you anticipated after earning that degree from Kent or John Carroll or Cleveland State, and it’s certainly not what your professors, guidance counselors or parents envisioned, either.

Here are more clues these “entry-level event and sports marketing” jobs should be avoided:

  • We are immediately hiring for 30 jobs. Know why? The last round of fresh new hires walked off the job after three weeks, hanging their head in shame and embarrassed they said yes to a job offer in the first place.
  • “Cookouts, Cornhole, Fun, Sun” as the title of the job being advertised. This isn’t a career to be proud of, so the job ad headlines have to stretch to attract applicants, luring you with “we play hard, too” copy. Does the Cleveland Clinic or Medical Mutual or Dix & Eaton or Bendix or Sterling Jewelers need to use lines like that to fill their candidate pipeline? Gracious, no.
  • The owners and management are anonymous. When you visit their cheaply-made website, you’ll rarely find bios of the owners or even a list of staff, more proof these are fly-by-night operations.
  • Just moved, new office. Their ads say “we just launched a new office in the Cleveland area.” They’re still unpacking, because these gypsy companies are constantly on the move. They often have to close in one suburb, change their name, and open in another community – their reputation catches up with them quickly in any job market.
  • Everyone at the company is 25 years old. This lack of senior executives is revealed if there are photos on a website, and you’ll notice when everyone you interview with is four years out of college. Reputable companies have some experienced execs walking the halls, with a track record of working for recognized, known employers, easily verified on LinkedIn.
  • Vague websites. The home page talks about “management training” and “growing and developing entrepreneurs” and “rookie managers needed” for our “premiere outsourced Sales and Marketing firm” but is short on specifics about their product and specific client names.

There’s no doubt that landing that first job out of college takes longer than anyone thought it would, but temporary or retail jobs with established employers (Panera, Starbucks, Adecco, or Kelly Services) gives you experience with a recognized brand and established HR and training practices. Be patient – there are fewer jobs on the market in the summer, and employment postings start to uptick in the fall.

Blanketing employers with 250 unsolicited resumes is not going to land you your first job, so stop depending on a blanket approach – expanding one’s network, using LinkedIn appropriately, going to industry educational/networking events, and meeting new potential advocates through volunteering will carry your brand further than dumping your resume around town.


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